Health insurance is tricky, it doesn’t make sense and often times the customer service reps are not even sure about what they are saying and what you are covered for. I, like many, have been hit with the surprise medical bill. It’s crazy to think that we can get granular detail about our hotel bookings and flights and not health insurance?
Travelocity, Kayak, and companies like this have taken the complicated aspect out of booking for travel and stay. Even Airbnb follows this model and even going a step further by letting you talk with your host right from within the platform. This is a huge problem because it does not allow for the same freedom of choice or options we have with everything else.
What are we missing?
Often times when signing up for insurance whether individually or as an employer, it’s difficult to assess what the deductible will be, what labs are covered and how much each test cost and if you need an official referral to see a specialist or not. We can compare and contrast every other service we get whether it’s ordering food or buying a TV, but not health insurance. One way this can be accomplished is with an Open Data Stack between all participants in the healthcare industry so that this type of granular detail can be achieved.
Being able to compare and contrast granular detail like if that TV has enough HDMI outputs or shows video in HDR would help tremendously when choosing the right health insurance plan for you. All this detail has come from using technology to become more transparent and direct to consumer and it has changed the quality of the products we value and purchase and the same could be said for health insurance, given that option.
Some people are already working on this.
This is where the private sector and tech sector can thrive. The ability for algorithms to parse through data to compare and contrast insurance prices for you and people who are outside of the insurance companies hold to walk you through what that data means.
Stride Health has taken this on by creating a mobile recommendation platform that allows you see prices and compare different insurance plans much like kayak does with flights.
Collective Health has taken on building a complete solution to replace employer-based health plans to deliver better insurance individually and provide more transparency with the use of technology and software to deliver a more engaging experience.
It’s going to take much more people working on this to make this change happen and to keep in place the rules that allowed for this transparency, like any other consumer good and service health insurance should be transparent and easy to understand. There should be a greater emphasis on this in Washington because this concerns people’s lives.
We have to design a health delivery system by actually talking to people and asking, ‘What would make this service better for you?’ As soon as you start asking, you get a flood of answers. – Paul Farmer